“Everyone in my village said football wasn’t a feminine sport. Even my parents. In spite of it all, I kept playing. Having started at 9 years old, I only got really serious about the sport when I reached middle school. I was a part of the school team and played in many regional matches. A focal person noticed my skills in one of these matches and called me out for national selections. I was excited but, of course, it was not a direct entry into the team. I was kept as an outfield player. I was shocked to learn that the women’s national team had a shortage of goalkeepers. I decided to become one for the team.

When my class ten results weren’t good, the BFF gave me a scholarship for high school, and another one when I couldn’t perform well on my first try. I participated in all possible sports in school to help me get a scholarship to college in Thimphu. It worked. Going to college there meant I could play football almost every day. Besides the occasional national games, I played for Bhutan in many South Asian games. I even got to experience my first ever flight thanks to football. I was on the national team for 3 years. It gained me a lot of experience and knowledge. I was also able to complete my studies and travel abroad. I even got to coach kids during vacations and make some pocket money. But the low came when the Girl’s Academy was moved to Gelephu. My father had diabetes and I couldn’t move away because I had to take care of him.

Many things hindered me from playing in the National team again- including not getting selected. Now, sometimes I even get told I’m too old to play. But I’ll not give up football completely. I play for clubs now and I will continue to do my best for the national team selections. If it weren’t for football, I’d be back in my village. For now, I’m the general secretary of a women’s football club. I want to become a coach one day. My love for football stems from its ability to unite people and promote gender equality. The equal pay that all national players get irrespective of gender is His Majesty’s greatest soelra to us.”

#HumansofThimphu #HumanStories

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